Goldie Hawn, John Wayne, Kirk Douglas and Lily Tomlin at Paley Center for Media - Wednesday 5th September 2007

*File photos* * U.S. TV COMEDIAN DICK MARTIN DIES American comedian-turned-director DICK MARTIN has passed away at the age of 86. He died early Saturday evening (24May08) surrounded by family and friends, after suffering from respiratory complications at a hospital in Santa Monica, California, according to the star's spokesperson Barry Greenberg. Martin enjoyed a career spanning 40 years, but was perhaps best known for his role as co-host of the hit 1960s TV series Rowan And Martin's Laugh-In. The variety show debuted in January 1968, winning over both audiences and critics and topping the Nielsen TV ratings charts for two years. The show, which featured song-and-dance segments and stand-up banter between Rowan and Martin, helped launch the careers of several young actors and comedians, including Goldie Hawn, Lily Tomlin, Ruth Buzzi, Arte Johnson, Henry Gibson and Jo Anne Worley. Hollywood stars John Wayne and Kirk Douglas, as well as then-presidential hopeful Richard Nixon, also made brief appearances on the show before it was cancelled in 1973. Martin later moved on to directing, following the advice of fellow comic and actor Bob Newhart. He quickly established himself as one of Hollywood's most hard-working TV directors, working on episodes of Newhart, In The Heat Of The Night, Archie Bunker's Place and Family Ties. Martin is survived by his wife Dolly Read and two sons from his first marriage to Peggy Connelly: actor Richard Martin and Cary Martin. At his request, there will be no funeral. (PAW/WNWP/MT) Dick Martin (l) Paley Center for Media and TV Land Salutes The Bob Newhart Show Los Angeles, California - 05.09.07 (2 images)

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